If you or a loved one is caught in the grips of anorexia, bulimia, exercise addiction, or another type of eating disorder, you may be wondering where to turn. These disorders can quickly turn a healthy, vibrant person into a walking shadow, and because food is an integral part of everyday life, becoming healthy can be a challenge. You are not alone -- some estimates place the incidence of eating disorders at 10 to 15 percent of the U.S. population. Read on to learn more about the best types of therapy for a variety of eating disorders, as well as what you should seek in a recovery center such as Olalla Recovery Centers.
What types of treatment have been shown to best combat eating disorders?
Treating an eating disorder can be a complex process -- more so than with other types of addictions and disorders. However, in combination, a few different methods have been shown effective for long-term success.
- Psychological counseling
There is often a root or "trigger" for the eating disorder -- identifying this trigger and giving the patient methods to avoid or cope with it is often key in recovery. For example, some patients may have developed anorexia or bulimia after being complimented by many people after losing a small amount of weight. Others may be coping with other insecurities or a general lack of control that can manifest itself into a hyper-control over diet or exercise.
In many cases, group therapy can be helpful. However, in severe circumstances, inpatient treatment or rehabilitation may be necessary in order to gain complete liberation from the eating disorder and avoid any serious health consequences.
- Nutritional counseling
While psychological counseling is important to help identify and treat the root cause of the eating disorder, nutritional counseling is often necessary to help the individual become healthy and control their weight without resorting to drastic measures. Long-term anorexia, bulimia, or exercise addiction can harm the heart, kidneys, and other organs, as well as teeth and skin. A licensed nutritionist can teach the patient how to create healthy, well-balanced meals that can help stem or reverse any existing damage and prevent spikes in blood sugar or endorphins that can trigger addictive behavior.
- Psychiatric medication
In certain cases, the use of psychiatric medication or antidepressants to curb addictive impulses or increase appetite may be necessary. Because these medications should only be used under the watchful eye of a licensed physician, this method can be effective while the patient is either under regular doctor's care or staying in an inpatient facility. It can sometimes take several attempts before a doctor and patient can find the correct medication and dosage for the desired effects.
What should you seek in an eating disorder recovery center?
If you've determined that the best option is inpatient treatment, rather than outpatient counseling or medication, there are a few questions you should ask before selecting a facility.
- Does the center provide treatment round-the-clock, or only during business hours?
Some centers have limited services during evenings and weekends -- depending upon the severity of the eating disorder, you may feel additional treatment is necessary.
- How can payment be made?
Most health insurance plans do not cover the cost of inpatient treatment for eating disorders. Because of this, you may need to investigate alternative payment options. Some centers will allow you to make periodic payments or even open a line of credit, while others will require cash for the entire stay up front.
- Is the program designed for only one gender?
If one of the triggers for the underlying disorder involves gender roles, it may be best to seek out a gender-specific campus for more targeted treatment.